In this modern reweaving of “Little Red Riding Hood” set on a modern, fanciful African savanna, readers meet a young, black Little Red who gracefully outwits the more-hungry-than-horrifying Lion.
The Lion imagines his “very-clever-plan” to sneak off to a spots-afflicted Auntie Rosie’s house to solve his grumbling tummy, just in time for Little Red to arrive. But of course, the perceptive Little Red instantly notices that the muumuu-clad Lion is not her Auntie Rosie. She forms her own plan to teach the naughty Lion a lesson. She heads first for the Lion’s unkempt mane with brush and comb, magically transforming it into a “lovely new look,” complete with pink bow-tie barrettes. Those pink bow ties inspire Little Red to find a much prettier dress for him to wear than the muumuu. The annoyed, fed-up Lion bellows his hunger only to be confronted with Little Red’s wagging finger as she explains in quick, calming, decisive fashion, “Well, trying to eat children and aunties is VERY naughty. If you were hungry, all you had to do was ask for some food.” They reconcile their relationship swiftly with a box of doughnuts as the tale comes to a close. Wonderful, jazzy illustrations feature brilliant oranges, yellows, and pinks underscored by vivid, playful language to add to the intrigue. Little Red is a mite with a red dress and two spectacular pigtails.
Great storytelling braided with lively color and a culturally affirming accent makes this book a real standout. (Picture book. 4-8)